“How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we humans know when it is time to move on? With the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown.” Elisabeth Kubler Ross
Letting Go and Moving On
The first red and yellow leaves of autumn fall in my yard, and it begins: the dropping away of what is not needed, the extraneous, the extra weight of burdens, the sadness we kept hidden while the light of the summer sun lured us into denial. Tears surface for no apparent reason, feeling like toxic waste that our cells and minds have finally released. Autumn reminds us that in our own lives, it is the season to let go and move on.
The towering oaks shed their acorns, and the squirrels, filled with delight, fly from tree to tree like circus acrobats on speed and gorge on the nuts, becoming plump. Some things will die, while others come alive, gathering the rich harvests before the first freeze like the bears preparing for their winter hibernation. The Spirit in all of nature whispers guidance for this transition, where to find the best blueberries or the best migratory path to warmer lands.
Choosing Wise Paths
That voice whispers to us as well. Walking in the forest after several days of rain, I turn my face to the patches of sunshine filtering through the trees, drinking it in as if it were water in a desert. My friend and I start to take a different hiking path and have no idea where it will take us. We have to be home at a certain time, but when the trail starts to curve away from the stream we know will lead us back to our car, a quiet voice inside whispers. We reluctantly turn back, agreeing we will explore this path another time.
During autumn, here in the Appalachians, the variety of color and the length of time it lasts, gently and sensually eases us into the introversion of winter. It gives us time to think about where we need to go in our migration through life. It gives us time to explore what changes we need to make and what habits, thoughts, or attachments we need to release. We are gently reminded there are some things we cannot control. Change is inevitable. Parts of our lives will fall away. But deep inside there is a voice that will tell us when to let go.
Spiritual Gifts of Accepting Change
Now in the autumn of my days, I have learned to quiet my mind and listen to that voice. I love the richness of this time. Like autumn shedding her leaves, I must shed some attitudes. If I expect my body to perform as it did twenty years ago, I will incur injury; yet, by scaling back the intensity of the activity, I can do almost everything I used to enjoy. I can be the squirrel running up and around the tree if not the squirrel flying from branch to branch.
Just like the beauty of autumn leaves, being willing to transform and move into a new mind-set, relationship or job, even if they are not what we envisioned, can bring beauty and wisdom to our lives. Without the change of seasons we live a boring existence. We would become so attached to our limited ideas of what a life can be that we would never move on and venture into the unknown where treasures we cannot even imagine lay buried, waiting for us to unearth them and become transformed.
As the cool breezes blow and the brilliant autumn sun shines through the branches of the trees it is time for us to reevaluate our lives. Where do we need to be in our own hearts and minds when winter arrives? What path do we need to take on our journey to reach an abundant and warmer land?
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© 2011 Georganne Spruce